Posts tagged activism

Posted 3 years ago

amory’s 17-point guide to graduate school, or phds for radicals in the humanities & social sciences


12. After surviving the indignities of graduate school, you will gain a little bit of status, prestige, and financial security as faculty. However your academic work will continue to be demoralizing. You feel that you must master and keep up with an impossible amount of material. You will never know enough and you will live in fear of getting caught not knowing something that you should. While you will get positive feedback from students, most of your colleagues will appreciate your successes and failures only insofar as they provide useful cannon fodder for their own careers and egos. You will find only sporadic meaning and fulfillment in this work. You may have very few or no colleagues with whom you have satisfying intellectual relationships. Therefore, you must DESIGN a life with political activity and meaning. The academy WILL NOT meet your political (or social) needs on its own. You will have to make a political path outside/beyond the academy. See your academic life as one part of an overall plan for your political, intellectual, community, and life-meaning development. This is a big task. Live your life as a graduate student building political connections, activist skills, community involvements, and popular pedagogy so that in the next phase of your life you will already know how to connect with communities and do political work outside of the academy as a public intellectual, a community member, a citizen in service to social justice organizations, a political activist, etc…

Posted 3 years ago

Another flyer I made for the Rutgers Student Union’s ongoing actions.

Posted 3 years ago

The dogmas are tediously familiar: All multiplicity, decentering, or dispersion is positive, while all unity or homogeneity is suspect; all marginality is creative, while all majorities and consensuses are oppressive; small-scale political action is to be commended, while large-scale, state-centered projects are to be treated with thorough-going skepticism.

This is not the kind of politics that brought down apartheid, upended the neo-Stalinist states of Eastern Europe, or, as I write, has toppled a couple of autocracies in the Arab world. It is rather the expression of post-1970s political deadlock in advanced Western societies—one that then, in a grandly universalizing gesture not unfamiliar in Parisian theory, mistakes itself for the truth. Except that we cannot speak of truth …

Terry Eagleton, "Couples Therapy," Artforum
Posted 3 years ago

Walk into Action

I’m thrilled that I know these people personally.

Posted 3 years ago

The People's Geography Project

A World to Make

The major goal of the People’s Geography Project is to popularize and make even more relevant and useful to ordinary people the important, critical ways of understanding the complex geographies of everyday life that geographers have and continue to develop. Our contention is that such knowledge is an important tool not just in learning to cope with constantly developing and transforming relations of power that are deeply geographical, but in learning how to actively transform those relations in the name of social and economic justice.

Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago

Return of the Class Struggle

Thanks to the public employees of Wisconsin, thousands of whom have occupied the state capitol building for the past several days, the class struggle has returned to the United States. Of course, it never really left, but lately only one side has been fighting. Workers, their unions and liberals more generally have now rejoined the battle.

Posted 3 years ago

People, Power, and Public Spaces

The state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, where thousands of workers now protest the governor’s fierce attacks on collective bargaining rights, represents another case of a public commons becoming a staging ground for political resistance. The capitol, which sits right in the heart of downtown Madison, was named by Project for Public Spaces as one of the great public spaces of the world. “This is truly the town square that early Americans imagined as the crux of democracy,” the PPS website explains.

The people rallying behind public sector union workers at the Capitol are actually protected by the Wisconsin state constitution, which forbids the legislature from denying public access to the building when it is in session. (State law does permit capitol groundskeepers to clear the building in an emergency, presumably on orders of the governor—but those groundskeepers are also presumably members of the same union the governor wants to crush.)

This all shows that the exercise of democracy depends upon having a literal commons where people can gather as citizens—a square, Main Street, park, or other public space that is open to all. An alarming trend in American life is the privatization of our public realm. As corporate-run shopping malls replaced downtowns and main streets as the center of action, we lost some of our public voice. You can’t organize a rally, hand out flyers, or circulate a petition in a shopping mall without the permission of the management, which will almost certainly say no because they don’t want to distract shoppers’ attention from the merchandise. That’s why you see few benches or other gathering spots inside malls. The result is that our ability to even discuss the issues of the day (or any other subject) with our fellow citizens is limited.

Of course, public spaces enrich our lives in many ways beyond protests. Local commons become the sites of celebrations, festivals, art events, memorial services, and other expressions of community.

Posted 3 years ago

Egyptian Activists' Action Plan: Translated

Egyptian activists have been circulating a kind of primer to Friday’s planned protest. We were sent the plan by two separate sources and have decided to publish excerpts here, with translations  into English. Over Twitter, we connected with a translator, who translated the document with exceptional speed.

What follows are side-by-side translations of nine pages from the 26-page pamphlet. They were translated over the last hour and pasted up in Photoshop to give you an idea of what’s in the protest plan.

Posted 3 years ago

In Tunisia, Women Play Equal Role In Revolution

"Just look at how Tunisian women stood side-by-side with Tunisian men," he says. "They came out to the streets to protest in headscarves. They came out in miniskirts. It doesn’t matter. They were there."